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Professional development programme to champion diverse voices within Wales’ literary culture launched by Literature Wales

 Literature Wales, the national company for the development of literature, launches the second round of its professional development programme for under-represented writers today, 11 April 2022. Representation and equality are key goals for Literature Wales, and the Representing Wales programme directly contributes towards achieving targeted and authentic change within the sector. Building on the success of the first year of the programme, Representing Wales provides professional development opportunities to 14 writers from low-income backgrounds, selected by an independent Assessment Panel. Emily Burnett, a member of the 2021/22 cohort said: “The support and generosity I’ve received from Literature Wales over the course of the programme has been incredible. I now have a Literary Manager, and my confidence in my writing has grown so much, as well as my desire to explore new genres. My relationship with my Mentor has been invaluable and has pushed my career in such a positive direction. I can’t thank Literature Wales enough for this opportunity.”Literature Wales will support the cohort and help nurture their talent by awarding up to £3,500 to each selected writer and by facilitating mentoring sessions. The cohort will also receive 10 workshops which aim to demystify the writing profession and the publishing process. Further support will be given through networking opportunities and access to literature festivals and events. Bespoke creative writing masterclasses with established writers, two of which will take place at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre, will also be key elements of the programme. The 12-month programme is funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales and was designed in consultation with communities and writers from Literature Wales’ extensive networks. Leusa Llewelyn, Creative Lead, Literature Wales, said:“Representing Wales is an important step in our efforts to develop a culture that is truly reflective of Wales’ communities and to establish a pipeline of diverse Welsh talent that will be recognised across Wales and beyond. We are very fortunate to have a rich variety of writers in Wales, telling our own stories in our own languages. We are proud that this programme shines a light on 14 exceptional voices, who have 12 months of fantastic opportunities ahead of them.”During the year-long programme, the cohort will hear from writers such as Cathy Rentzenbrink, Pascale Petit, Eloise Williams, and Kit de Waal, as well as publishers from Wales and specialist organisations such as The Society of Authors and The Good Literary Agency. They’ll also receive training on how to create an authentic author brand, build a freelance career, and work as a community practitioner. Anastacia Ackers, FlintshireAnastacia Ackers is a writer, theatre maker and facilitator from north-east Wales. She iscurrently chair of National Theatre Wales TEAM panel and has worked as part of NationalTheatre Wales TEAM Wrexham project since 2019. She also works alongside OutsideLives, a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Maeshafn, Flintshire and is currentlysupporting the LikeMinded group for people living with dementia, as part of the DementiaEngagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP). Anastacia is passionate about historyand mythology and is incredibly excited to be on the Representing Wales ProfessionalDevelopment Programme 2022-23.Rosy Adams, AberystwythRosy Adams lives in Aberystwyth. She grew up in the Brecon Beacons where she spentsignificantly more time in the town library than in school, although she did attend herEnglish lessons where she was taught by award-winning Welsh writer ChristopherMeredith. She graduated as a mature student from the University of Wales Trinity SaintDavid in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing. She mostly writes short stories but isworking towards producing novels and narrative non-fiction. Her stories have beenpublished by Writing Magazine and Muswell Press, and her poetry has appeared in TheLampeter Review.Representing Wales 2022 CohortKittie Belltree, CardiganKittie Belltree grew up in south London and has lived in west Wales for 35 years. Herdebut poetry collection, Sliced Tongue and Pearl Cufflinks was published in 2019(Parthian) and her short stories and reviews have appeared in numerous anthologiessuch as The Brown Envelope Book (Caparison, 2021), and the forthcoming Cast a LongShadow (Honno, 2022). Alongside her writing, she works as a workshop facilitator,delivering creative well-being projects in schools and community settings as well as aSpecialist Tutor for neurodivergent students at Aberystwyth University. She recentlycompleted a PhD examining linguistic representations of trauma. She is also currentlyparticipating in Equal Power Equal Voice, a cross-equalities programme to increasediversity of representation in public and political life.Jon Doyle, Port TalbotHailing from Port Talbot in south Wales, Jon Doyle holds an MA in Creative Writing fromCardiff University and a PhD from Swansea University. His writing has appeared inHobart, Short Fiction, The Ploughshares Blog, The Rumpus, HAD, 3:AM Magazine andother places. He is currently working on his debut novel.Representing Wales 2022 CohortAlix Edwards, CardiffAlix Edwards is a multi-platform artist based in Cardiff. She combines photography,painting, text, installation and spoken word to give a voice to marginalised communities.She has an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, London and an MA in photographyfrom Central Saint Martin's. Alongside her writing, she facilitates art and creative writinggroups in her community including for Women’s Aid. Her work has been exhibited invarious galleries across England and Wales and her writing has been published in variousanthologies. She is currently working on a novel about the aftermath of domestic violenceand creating an online programme to empower women creatively.Simone Greenwood, NewportSimone Greenwood grew up in Cumbria, but has lived in the Sirhowy Valley, south Walesfor the last two decades, raising her family, teaching, and fostering. More recently, shehas worked for Arts Council of Wales’ Arts and Education Network, and with children’spublishers Burst and Firefly Press. In 2021, she co-founded Ymaginosity, an organisationdevoted to nurturing young storytellers. Simone writes children’s fiction and short films.She won Best Film and Best Script at It’s My Shout Awards 2019, and her short film,Tabard aired on BBC Wales. Her Christmas romcom, Jangle was selected for the PrideOnline Film Festival and has been widely viewed internationally.Representing Wales 2022 CohortBen Huxley, BangorBen Huxley is a writer based in north Wales. With fingers in many pots - stage, film, videogames journalism - he is currently focusing on his fiction. Since publishing a short story atthe age of 12, he’s always known that writing is his true love.Bridget Keehan, CardiffBridget Keehan has been working in the arts for 25 years, primarily in theatre. She is thefounding Director of Papertrail / Llwybr Papur, a theatre company that specialises indeveloping new writing for non-conventional theatre spaces. Prior to establishingPapertrail, Bridget wrote her PhD on the practice of theatre in prisons, a subject thatarose from her experience of working in prison as a writer and theatre maker. Aside fromacademic writing, Bridget has written short fiction and texts for performance. She hasbeen a runner-up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition and her prize-winning shortstory was produced for Radio 4.Representing Wales 2022 CohortCiaran Keys, BangorCiaran grew up all over the UK and Ireland and now lives in north Wales. His interest inwriting and fictional media started during childhood whilst watching classic genre filmsand raiding wholly age-inappropriate horror novels from libraries and lost-property boxes.He is currently recoiling/recovering from lifelong addiction issues and enjoying life as adomesticated human. As a writer, his major influences are Iain M Banks, Clive Barker andanyone who succeeds in writing emotive historical narrative. His ambition is to writebooks that will resonate with people who are also fascinated and disturbed by the weirdthings humanity gets up to, whilst also exploring his own experiences throughexaggerated genre fiction.Amy Kitcher, Mountain AshAmy Kitcher lives in the south Wales Valleys and divides her time unevenly between hertwo jobs, her two children and her two passions; reading and writing. She speaks fourlanguages and has a Masters degree in modern warfare. She started writing around thesame time she was run over by a pensioner and wrote the first draft of her first novel inabout six weeks, much less time than it took her injuries to heal. Her poetry and shortstories have been published in various online magazines and anthologies.Representing Wales 2022 CohortHattie Morrison, LlandysulHattie Morrison writes narrative non-fiction and fragmented essays. In 2022, she finishedher debut book Venus As A Spinster, which weaves memory, dream, folklore,archaeological research and text messages together to explore the history, depiction anderasure of thread spinning women from Welsh heritage. Her work is satirical, melancholyand firmly rooted in rurality. Born in Carmarthenshire in 1997, Morrison received a degreein Fine Art at the University of Oxford on a socio-economic supported scholarship,followed by an MA in Writing from The Royal College of Art – which she completed onlineduring the pandemic between 2020 and 2022, in the village she was raised. Herunderstanding and study of visual culture repeatedly informs her written work.Frankie Parris, PenarthFrankie Parris is a trans poet and author living in Penarth. Having performed at variouspoetry events in Cardiff to a warm and encouraging response, he has recently decided topursue his writing more openly. Frankie writes mostly from personal experience, reflectingon his struggles with mental illness, queerness, love and relationships and acceptance ofhis identity as a trans man. Although most of his work is poetry, Frankie also has beenworking on a collection of short stories and hopes to explore all forms of writing, includingplays and film writing.Representing Wales 2022 CohortAnthony Shapland, CardiffAnthony Shapland is an artist, writer and curator form south Wales. He grew up inBargoed and was the first of his family to go to college, where he studied Fine Art. Hegrew up in an era that was only just starting to shift its social, legal and moral attitudestoward gay men, and the desire to ‘not stand out’, even after ‘coming out’, has had alasting impact on all of his work. He is currently working with fiction, in short form andnovella, and regularly writes on the visual arts in reviews, artists monographs, exhibitionsand catalogues. Recently, he was on the judging panel for Artes Mundi 8 and has servedon the Wales in Venice committee. He currently works at g39, an artist-led communityspace he co-founded in Cardiff, where he lives.Alex Wharton, PontypoolAlex Wharton is an award-winning writer and performer of poetry. In 2020, he won TheWales Rising Stars Award launched by Literature Wales and Firefly Press. Daydreamsand Jellybeans is Alex’s first collection of poetry, published with Firefly Press in January2021. The book was named as a National Poetry Day recommended read and was short-listed for the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award. Alex is one of 11 writers thatcollaborated on a retelling of the Mabinogion called The Mab, which will be published inthe summer of 2022 in both English and Welsh. He will be publishing his secondcollection of poems for children with Firefly Press.